SOAR Grant Update
We are still waiting to hear back on the result of our SOAR grant application. The funding for the grant is currently tied up in ongoing budget battle in Frankfort. Once this gets resolved, we hope to receive good news concerning our application and are ready to start moving this effort forward.
Bring out your bids
The board opened the bid submissions requested from various surveying firms. We received 8 bids ranging from $44,500 to $219,375. While price is important, there are many other factors to consider with these bids. The board will review the information received between now and next meeting and will discuss the matter further at our April 20th meeting.
Casey Cravens, volunteer extraordinaire, led a group of 7 last weekend on a trail maintenance and development excursion. Casey reported that all went well and the trails seem to be in good shape, all things considered. As always, we'd like to think Casey and the other volunteers for all they do in helping with this park.
Moving up a level
Joe Crawford and Dedra Brandenburg will start work on getting all necessary forms submitted to the Kentucky Trail & Tourism Department for Hollerwood Park. Once the forms have been approved, we will be an officially recognized recreational park and would then fall under Kentucky statutes that provide protection against issues that may arise during normal recreational activities, such as ATV riding. This is an important step towards opening. This protection is required for us to safely operate a recreational park.
SOAR Grant update
We've been eagerly awaiting to hear news on our SOAR grant application. The SOAR committee met on 2/4 and had numerous items to discuss. Unfortunately, the meeting ran long and they were unable to finish that meetings agenda; meaning no discussions took place regarding the SOAR grant. We will keep our ear to the ground in hopes of hearing something before our next meeting.
surveying the park
At the last meeting, we started the process of requesting bids for a survey of the land borders of the park. This is a key element needed before opening since a large portion of the park borders land that is currently held by the Parks Service. Unfortunately, only one bid was received and was subsequently rejected. The board voted to request a new round of bids with a larger scope in order to attract more potential bidders. Information for the bid will be posted on the website and Facebook pages soon.
Committee member Ian Teal was tasked at the previous meeting with assessing our proposed renovations for the old Sun Oil building on the property. This is the building that will eventually house the offices, shop, etc. Given Ian's previous experience with rehabilitating properties, he was asked to specifically look at the building to see if our proposed grant funding of $30,000 could accomplish all the tasks the board had previously laid out. Ian believed that the funding should be sufficient to complete everything. The next step will be to work with architects and contractors to compose an order of work that will be used when requesting bids for the rehab.
working at the park
Ever since Wolfe County Tourism generously donated money in order to get a dedicate worker for the park, questions have been swirling around the legal issues involved with hiring a worker for a multi county entity. Issues like: who is responsible for the worker, who holds insurance on the worker, what type of employment should be used, etc. These questions have been settled by Wolfe County Tourism and the boards lawyer. The new worker will be hired under the Wolfe County Tourism Commission. This removes the few hurdles in getting this person going. Look for requests for application in the coming weeks.
Where Am I?
We have been discussing for some time about the need to get the park properly surveyed. The issue has always been around the cost, which is substantial since it is a 3000+ acre park with a very large perimeter. We addressed this as one key obstacle in our recent SOAR grant proposal. While we have not heard work on whether or not we get the grant, we did want to get some of our ducks in a row and request for surveying bids for the park in case we are awarded the grant. Dedra Brandenburg composed a 'request for bids' that we will soon be publishing in the local newspapers, as well as on this site and our social media pages. If you are interested in submitting a bid, or know someone who is interested, please keep checking this site and our Facebook page for the posting.
Hard Hat Required
We also discussed gathering a 'scope of work' in order to get the bid process going for repairs to the building at the park that we will eventually use as the office. Ian Teal will be working on gathering information to present at the next meeting on what work we will need to have done in order to get this building in shape.
The need we have for a dedicated park worker is one that has been ever-present over the last year. We have outlined it in our SOAR grant, as well as been awarded funds from the Wolfe Count Tourism Board for a dedicated park worker. We've had numerous questions relating to matters of labor classification and compensation that the board has been unable to answer due to their legal context. Joe Crawford will be leading this investigation with the boards current county attorney liaison (Estill County) and report back at the next meeting with his findings. The hope is by that time the board will know the outcome of our grant application and can proceed appropriately.
Welcome to the jungle
We've talked before about the excellent volunteers we have regarding this project. People sacrificing their time and labor to help this project along as best they can. We wanted to recognize the importance of two volunteers particularly by naming them Co-Chairs of the Trails Development sub-committee. Casey Cravens and James Neukam are both extremely familiar with the property and the work required to ensure that their are no issues for vehicles who ride along the path. We feel that their extensive familiarity with this area will be a terrific asset when trail maintenance is required, as well when new trails are needing to be developed. If you know either one of these men, please congratulate them next time you see them.
Spread our wings and soar!
After a lot of hard work and long hours, the board was finally presented with the final proposal that we will be submitting for the SOAR grant. The board authorized the chairman to submit our proposal for $205,300. This will cover numerous items that the park needs to accomplish before opening; such as trail development, rehabilitating the main building, environmental sustainability, and hiring a park administrator. Getting this grant would mean quite a bit in our goal of opening the park. We'll keep you posted on the status!
Lines in the sand
Some members have been gathering rough estimates from surveying companies on a complete survey for Hollerwood Park. This type of survey is needed for a number of reasons, such as defining land boundaries, trail development, access point planning, etc. The estimates seemed reasonable enough that the board decided to open the bidding process for this type of survey. The board will be running ads in the local newspapers of Estill, Lee, Powell, and Wolfe Counties for bids. Once these bids come in, the board will review them and notify the winner if one is chosen. If you're interested in submitting a bid, keep checking the local newspapers.
our favorite abbreviation: GPS
Jeff Dozier has been working hard to secure a grant from the Southern Four Wheel Drive Association that would pay for dynamic, downloadable maps that could be purchased by riders for all trails developed at Hollerwood Park through the company CartTracks. The maps a downloaded locally to the phone and work with GPS, so cellular service is not required while using the maps, it's only required when downloading the map for the first time. To learn more about how the maps work, check out CartoTrack's website.
cleaning out my closet
Trails get messy. You cut tress down, clean the trails, then they grow back. This is the problem we had to address. We worked with Casey Cravens who helped us organize a trail clean up effort on Saturday, Decemeber 5th. Groups of riders and supports came out with hatchets, axes, chainsaws, and a strong desire to keep the trails we currently have as clean as possible. For this, we thank them! We've got a great base of supporters who are just as eager as we are to get this park open!
A committee without a quorum
Due to some last minute family issues, we were unable to gather a quorum at our last meeting on November 18th. When we don't have a quorum, it means we can discuss the park and our initiatives, we can answer questions from the attendees and talk about possible ideas, but we can't vote on anything. We discussed with the audience our on-going efforts in attaining grant money to help us open the park. We have a big grant with a deadline coming up which we have been working on for quite some time. We hope this grant can help us in numerous ways, such as in property development and staffing, but it's no easy task. These grants tend to be meticulous and require long hours from our board and supporters.
Learn more about our grants at SOAR's website.
One thing we discussed at the meeting was organizing a group of people to come to the park and help us with some trail needs... More details will soon follow. The exact way we will be reaching out for volunteers isn't clear, but if we do an open request, we'll likely do it through our online mailing list on our homepage. If you haven't signed up, please sign up for our mailing list. It's where we go when we need to distribute information to our most passionate followers!
When will I see you again?
Our next meeting is scheduled for December 9th at 6:30pm in the Powell County Courthouse. We're meeting a week earlier than usual to discuss any last minute changes for our SOAR grant (deadline on December 18th) and to try and avoid any holiday conflicts. We'll see you all there!
After our sponsorship ride, we received some items of concern from a couple of interested parties in the area. One was inquiring as to our progress, land use plans, etc. The other was one questioning our land boundaries. Both are being addressed by committee vice-chairman Joe Crawford. Both of these issues shine some light as to the complexities and delicate nature that we have to deal with in order to get things up and running.
The park was visited earlier this year by representatives from Congressman Andy Barr's office. We are looking forward to working with them in order to secure federal grant money for our project. Securing this money would go a long way towards getting the park opened right!
We're also looking in to a state grant from the SOAR Initiative. This grant is focused towards our region, and with an idea as big as this, it should get a lot of positive attention with the board that awards the grants. This also would help our park effort out tremendously!
Our final bit of good news involves one of our local tourism boards. The Wolfe County Tourism Board has earmarked money for our Hollerwood Park project. Specifically, this money would go towards hiring a single full time position for 1 year. The person taking on this role would be responsible for searching and applying for grants, working with perspective sponsors, and other similar duties that would help expedite the opening of the park. We're reaching out to the three remaining counties in hopes they can match the generous contribution the Wolfe County Tourism Board has made. They are truly leading by example in the endeavor.
The next meeting
The next meeting will be at the Powell County Courthouse at 6:30 on November 18th. Follow the Facebook event to stay up to date with any changes in time or location.
Did we decide on an opening date?
The short answer is no. We still haven't decided on an opening date. There are many issues that we are still working through that must be resolved before we can open. Some of the issues are:
This isn't the entire list, but it is a small sample of some of the things that we're working on. Know that we are working diligently on trying to get this park up and running for everyone to enjoy.
How did the sponsorship ride go?
The sponsorship ride went off without a hitch (at least not a big hitch)! We raised around $12,000 which we will be using to help resolve the issues outlined above. We had around 130 riders that came (tickets and day-of riders) and enjoyed some great riding with a fantastic meal. We didn't have any BBQ left. The feedback is still being assessed, but the initial survey results seem positive.
When is the next meeting?
We'll be holding our next meeting on Wednesday, October 21st. You can follow the event on Facebook. We'll (hopefully) be welcoming a new replacement board member from Estill County, as well as working through some issues concerning the bylaws that the board functions under. We hope to also have some updates on the previously mentioned issues. As always, we encourage everyone to come out and attend our meetings. Stay tuned for our next update!